Waikato Bay of Plenty 2018-03-16T09:44:56+00:00

Bay of Plenty

The Bay of Plenty (Māori: Te Moana-a-Toi) is a large bight in the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It stretches from the Coromandel Peninsula in the west to Cape Runaway in the east, a wide stretch of some 259 km of open coastline. The Bay of Plenty Region is situated around this body of water, also incorporating several large islands in the bay. The bay was named by James Cook after he noticed the abundant food supplies at several Māori villages there, in stark contrast to the earlier observations he had made in Poverty Bay.

According to local Māori traditions, the Bay of Plenty was the landing point of several migration canoes that brought Māori settlers to New Zealand. These include the Mataatua, Nukutere, Tākitimu, Arawa and Tainui canoes. Many of the descendent iwi maintain their traditional homelands (rohe) in the region, including Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāi Tai, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau, Te Arawa, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Pūkenga.Early Māori settlement gave rise to many of the town and city names used today.

The first recorded European contact came when James Cook sailed through the Bay of Plenty in 1769. Cook noted the abundance of food supplies, in comparison to Poverty Bay further back along the eastern coast of the North Island. Further reports of European contact are scarce prior to the arrival of missionary Samuel Marsden to the Tauranga area in 1820. During the 1820s and 1830s, northern iwi including Ngā Puhi invaded the Bay of Plenty during their campaign throughout the North Island, fighting local Māori tribes in what became known as the Musket Wars. However, the 1830s and 1840s saw increased contact between Bay of Plenty Māori and Europeans through trade, although few Europeans settled in the region.

The Bay of Plenty is best known as a winemaking region for its pinot noir, pinot Gri and sauvignon blanc.

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